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Friday, March 22, 2013

Watercolor Class

I am taking another watercolor class; it meets at our local co-op gallery every week. This week our  assignment was to use only three colors of paint in a picture. This forces us to use the white of the paper as one of the "colors" and to plan the drawing so as to not have two segments of the same color next to one another. It also forces me to avoid getting overly-detailed in my painting.  Here is mine:  

I drew one of my larger dolls that is in the gallery's gift shop right now because I really like the chair she is sitting on, and the way her long legs are crossed. I like her saddle shoes, too.   

In using this "restricted color palette," you can't make colors match the ones that are there,either. I am not totally happy with this picture because I have her head at the wrong angle, but I think I DID achieve what the teacher had in mind for me to do, and, overall, I'm happy with the result.

Doll Club in Puyallup, WA

Our cloth doll club normally meets in Puyallup (that's Pew AL Up, for non Washingtonians) at the Quilt Barn, on the third Wednesday of each month. Sometimes we don't meet in December and winter weather sometimes fouls up our plans in Jan and Feb, as Karla and I have a 90 min drive to get us there. This year, deaths in the extended family (mine) and illness (Karla's)  kept us away in Feb, and we missed January, too, so it had been a REALLY long time since we had all been together.
One of our group was tired and seriously considered not coming, as she was feeling down, but she decided to come after all. After listening to the rest of us relate what had been going on in our various lives, she decided that she was not alone in her troubles. Meeting together, working on our dolls, and talking/griping together is very good therapy, and we all go home feeling better than we did before.

Karla and I are the only ones in our group who live in a semi-isolated community, 50 miles from the interstate and all the stores that are available along it. Our Michael's Crafts left a couple years ago, and we have NO PLACE AT ALL to buy art or craft supplies. So our monthly trip to "civilization" serves as a restocking trip, and our only chance to pick up gesso, matte spray, artists' brushes, art paper, etc.

 This time, the group was working on giraffes. I don't usually do the group projects, as I am always behind and have so many unfinished projects that I work on those instead. But I bring my camera and take pictures that I can post here for those who were unable to attend the meeting. These giraffes are all made of muslin and I think you will agree that they don't look as if they are made from cloth once they are finished.

 Doreen and Stephanie had finished their giraffes (above); they live close enough to get together to work on their projects in between doll meetings. 
These two unfinished giraffes belong to Sandy (middle) and Karla (right).
Karla also made this elephant earlier:
Stephanie also makes reborn baby dolls and she brought some new ones that we had not seen before:

My Joshua is related to the middle doll above: 
I intend to buy another doll the same size as Joshua but with open eyes; he needs company!! A sister, I think.
Even though I did not make a giraffe, I have been working on finishing a doll that has been "stalled" for some time, with no hair, no hands, no legs, and no feet.  This happens to my poor creations a lot, and I feel for them. Sometimes, things interfere with my best intentions, and I am forced to ignore the poor things. 

This is a gourd-head doll--the gourd is just painted, which makes it a little fragile.  The gourds are hollow, and if bumped too hard, can crack. Often I cover the gourds with cloth if they will be moved around a lot, as that makes them stronger. I am not sure about the face of this doll; I'm pretty sure I'm going to change the eyes. But one thing I was VERY sure about was that I would NOT leave her head flopping around like a dead fish. So I had to temporarily remove her head (sorry!) and work on stablizing the neck:
 First I had to don a mask, and go out on the back porch and drill a hole in the bottom of the gourd; then I shook out as much of the dried stuff inside it and poured in a lot of Tacky glue (see pic above). Then I inserted a piece of wood, I think it is from the Mountain Ash tree in my front yard. I "harvest" wood from it every other year, as the thing grows too tall and blocks the view from our front window. This is a dried piece from a couple years ago.
 I stuffed a lot of paper towel into the gourd, on top of the glue, added more glue and then more towel, until the head was as full as I could make it, and the wooden piece very tight in the head. Now the head sits upside down near the gas fireplace (below) where it is nice and warm. It will take awhile to completely dry, but I'm pretty sure it WILL dry all the way, eventually.

Once the outside part around the wood is dry, I can put her head back in the body. I will probably tie quite a lot of stuffing around the stick part first, so there is a pretty substantial "stump" of batting around it, as I don't want the stick to be able to wander around inside the doll--if that happened, I'd be right back where I was before with a wobbly head.

So that's where the doll doings are for now. Next month, I should have more finished giraffes to post, and my doll SHOULD be finished if Life will let me do that.